New Grant Program to Help Restore Los Padres Watersheds in California

Santa Barbara, CA (December 14, 2015) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced that, in partnership with the Los Padres National Forest, NFWF will be issuing over $11 million in grants over the next five years to restore watersheds impacted by the Zaca and Piru fires in the Los Padres National Forest. The first round of funding from this innovative new partnership, which was formed in the spring of 2015, will be discussed at an open house tomorrow afternoon at the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.

“Our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation began this summer, and we are excited about the opportunities to fund forest watershed restoration projects that will involve local stakeholders and resource experts,” said Los Padres Forest Supervisor Robert Baird. “The resources and leveraging that NFWF brings will allow us to increase the scope and pace of our ecological restoration efforts, and lead to a healthier, more resilient forest with improved habitat for fish and wildlife.”

The Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) spans nearly 2 million acres in the Coast and Transverse Mountain Ranges of central and southern California. Stretching across approximately 220 miles from north to south, the LPNF encompasses land stretching from the spectacular Big Sur coast in Monterey County all the way to the western edge of Los Angeles County. Among the most biologically diverse National Forests in California, the LPNF is uniquely situated within one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and contains a wide variety of distinctive habitats and ecosystems. It is the stronghold of species like the California condor and one of the last refuges of the Southern California Coast Steelhead.

The Zaca Fire in 2007 and the Piru Fire in 2003 were noteworthy wildfire events affecting the Los Padres National Forest. Combined, these two fires burned over 280,000 acres of National Forest lands and left a significant impact on the landscapes, watersheds, and ecosystems of the region. The Los Padres National Forest has partnered with NFWF to restore the watersheds and ecosystems affected by the Zaca and Piru Fires. Through this program, NFWF will invest in projects that provide sustainable and lasting ecological benefits, promote ecological resilience to future wildfire events, improve the Forest’s capacity to identify and address resource management issues stemming from these fires, and repair critical infrastructure such as trails, and fuel breaks damaged by the fire, particularly where they have a discernable connection to the goals of ecological restoration.

“This is an important partnership to help restore a critical landscape impacted by catastrophic fire,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF.  “As fire continues to impact additional areas across California, the Foundation’s ability to help the Forest Service accomplish their restoration needs will not only make the watersheds associated with this forest more healthy, but will also protect vital natural resources important for nearby residents and local communities.”

NFWF and the Forest Service are hosting an open house on Tuesday, December 15th from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in Bren Hall, Room 1414, on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara to discuss the partnership and the Request for Proposals which can be found on the NFWF website:


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at


The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the U.S. Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.



Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166